Monday, 27 April 2009

STAR BLUES on 26th April 2009 at 22:00

The year 2009 is shaping up for a bumper crop of new releases and STAR BLUES had more than its fair share last night. Pride of place went to the new one from Bob Dylan whose song "My Wife's Home Town" sounded as if it was made for Howlin' Wolf circa 1961 there's plenty more on "Together Through Life" for future shows. That promised outing for Sixties Brit-blues legend Gordon Smith closed the first hour of the show, his brand new album is just like being made welcome by a good friend you've not seen for a while. Hot on his heels came two very stylish ladies, Sarah Potenza rocking out on "Crush" from her debut album and Imelda May made a long-overdue return to the show with her heavily-played single "Big Bad Handsome Man" - any resemblance to our own Mighty Mark Peters is purely coincidental, or is it? She was lead voice to the Blue Harlem outfit who were a past favourite of the show in another time, another planet. Imelda will be at the Cambridge Folk festival in July and we'll get chance to do more closer to the time.

Other new albums got first plays: Joe Price, Jay Tamlin Band, Steve Howell, Insomniacs, the History of R&B survey and Roger Cotton, yet more new ones made a second showing: Louisiana Red, Omar Kent Dykes and the Aretha Franklin anthology. The live Sunday night STAR BLUES is now pre-eminent for new releases in Britain.

To balance the new ones, it was a privilege to include classic sides from Rev. Gary Davis and Bob Hall in the gospel and piano blues spots respectively. That nice Mr Darling who lives at no. 11 got his battered red briefcase out this week so it was right to include Stevie Ray's go at the George Harrison song "Taxman" that the Beatles did on "Revolver". The point of the lyrics was to protest at 95% top-rate tax and we haven't got there yet...

Gary Moore was in Cambridge on Saturday so in memory of the gig, he started proceedings off with a vigorous duet with Albert Collins and a brand new band from Italy took us out of the show into Monday morning with a bold interpretation of Presley's "All Shook Up". God willing I'll be up for some more at ten next Sunday on FM and streaming on-line at - I'll be pleased to have your company - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

STAR BLUES on 19th April 2009 at 22:00

The British Blues special I did over Easter featured "The Greatest Electric Blues Guitar Performance EVER (EVER)" and the latest STAR BLUES show tried to top it with "The Greatest Female Vocal ..." - Lorraine Ellison's "Stay With Me Baby" was never a hit but has never been successfully covered either (though many have tried). She had the job of following a sparkling exhibition of finger-picking from Portland-based Mary Flowers on her version of "Big Bill's Blues" - Broonzy himself was no slouch on his axe.

The newer British blues scene got an outing with Jools Holland and there'll be more from the genre when I do the second part of the British Blues special later in the year (watch this space for more details). Juicy Lucy did "Who Do You Love" in the Sixties, George Thorogood did it in the late Seventies and it's since become an anthem. I had chance to recount the story of my first George Thorogood gig where my mate drove 80 miles with a broken arm and me changing gears. George is a bit closer next month, he plays at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in May.

I also included a track from the brand new album by Larry Garner to show why it has been so favourably reviewed everywhere, and I had a superb rendition of "Big Blue Diamonds" from Little Willie John off an Ace anthology that concludes the reissue of all Willie's sides he did for the King label. Memphis Slim did "Mother Earth" - something I took from Bob Dylan's Radio Hour collection as a companion to Zim's own "Someday Baby" from the "Modern Times" album. I've not seen the new one yet (his 46th in 47 years) and I don't know if it will be rootsy enough for inclusion on the playlist - we'll see.

Next week I'm going to be playing a track from the new album by Gordon Smith (Now there's a legend of Sixties British blues) - it's a good'un - until we can be together again on Sunday at ten, on FM and on-line at - take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 13 April 2009

STAR BLUES on 12th April 2009 at 22:00

To mark 40 years since the release of Led Zeppelin's debut album in April 1969, the Easter Sunday Star Blues last night celebrated the British Blues Boom of the Sixties through the best known tracks. Many bands like the Stones and the Animals got their start and it was right to pay tribute and recall some personal memories of the time. Eric Clapton's pre-eminence and influence was demonstrated with tracks from the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and the seminal sides with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (when he played guitar as if his very life depended on it).

My own favourite performances of this genre came from Peter Green and I was able to include a handful last night (his graceful beautiful tone is still capable of moistening my eye). Though I didn't have time to include the stint Green did with Mayall I was able to showcase the teenage talent of Mick Taylor who followed Green into Mayall's band before replacing Brian Jones in the Stones. Surely it can only be a matter of time before John is accorded his due as Lord Mayall of Macclesfield, if nothing else for his unerring ear for guitar talent (Clapton, Green, Taylor...)

Other guitar heroes included Mick Green (no relation) and Jeff Beck before telling the story of how the Zeppelin band and debut came about. If one album changed music forever this was it - though I suspect the blues purists would have a purple fit at the very thought. The piano blues spot went to a Blue Horizon session by the band Jellybread that featured Seventies hit-maker Pete Wingfield on piano. In a show that could have been twice as long it was fitting to include tracks by Jo-Ann Kelly, Steve Rye and Duster Bennett all three taken from us at early ages and each one a blues master, universally much missed.

All being well I will bring the story up to date with a "Part 2" on August Bank Holiday Sunday, for now the playlist is on my web-site and God Willing I'll be back with more Star blues on FM and online at at ten next Sunday. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 6 April 2009

STAR BLUES on 5th April 2009 at 22:00

Two more new albums on the distaff side provided the focus to last night's show - Gaye Agdebelola's solo effort since the sad breakup of Saffire is a very personal piece about her sexuality and prejudices dealt with in a very upbeat style, her album gave us "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On". The other lady was Shemekia Copeland who has evidently lost weight and added a mature control to her powerful vocals for her first outing for her new label, the song "Rise Up" was done with producer and guitarist Oliver Woods.

I've a couple of albums to be reviewed that feature selections of classic sides demonstrating the credentials (or otherwise) of two Sixties rock acts: the Doors and the Byrds. The first one is full of blues stuff, the second not so much blues as country and folk.

We stayed with current sounds for the piano blues of Mike Sanchez and went back to a 1940 composition for Deanna Bogart's rippling 88's on "Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar" that has nothing to do with domestic abuse. As for the gospel offerings, fans of the White Stripes will know all about "John The Revelator" pitched last night in all its original glory from April 1929 and Blind Willie Johnson - it was a nice counterpiece to the Holmes Brothers' reading of Bob Dylan's "Man Of Peace".

The next time we get together it will be in the company of the music of the Sixties British Blues scene on Easter Sunday at ten pm on FM and online at Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue